update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israel’s national security minister seeks fivefold increase in gun permits

Meanwhile, former spy Jonathan Pollard has appealed to Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir for help in acquiring a handgun license.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at the scene of a deadly Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Jan. 27, 2023. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at the scene of a deadly Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Jan. 27, 2023. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir vowed on Tuesday to push through a fivefold increase in weapon permits in the wake of last month’s Palestinian terrorist attack that killed seven people at a synagogue in Jerusalem.

Ben-Gvir has directed the Firearms Licensing Department to increase the number of new permits issued from roughly 2,000 to 10,000 per month, according to a statement from his Otzma Yehudit Party.

Israel has much more stringent gun laws than the United States, despite much of the population being familiar with firearms due to the country’s near-universal compulsory military service.

In most cases, civilians may only carry pistols, and licenses are mainly dependent on completing firearms training. Most individuals can own only a single handgun, and be in possession of no more than 50 bullets at any given time.

Meanwhile, after earlier requests were denied, Jonathan Pollard’s lawyer, Larry Dub, wrote to Ben-Gvir requesting assistance in acquiring a handgun license for Pollard, reported Arutz 7.

“Several months ago, on behalf of my client, we submitted an application for a private firearms license intended to protect the personal safety of my client, who is a well-known personality in Israel and who often visits Judea and Samaria as part of his activities to strengthen Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel,” the letter stated.

“As you know, my client’s request was denied by the Firearms Division of the Ministry of Internal Security and therefore we turned to you for help, and we even held a meeting with you on the matter even before you assumed the position of minister in the current government,” the letter reads.

Pollard is a former U.S. Navy analyst who served 30 years in an American prison on charges of spying for Israel.

Pollard was arrested in 1985, convicted of espionage and sentenced two years later. He is the only U.S. citizen to ever receive a life sentence for spying for an ally and the only one to serve more than 10 years in jail for the crime.

Pollard was released on parole in 2015, eventually being permitted to move to Israel in December 2020.

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